Saturday, February 4, 2012

Global CEO Studies...A Broken Record


At the Davos World Economic Forum, PricewaterhouseCoopers unveiled the findings from their 2012 Global CEO Study.

I really like to look through these kinds of studies to get a sense of what CEOs and other C-Suite leaders are thinking. I am always particularly interested in what they see as talent and leadership challenges or priorities they want to address.

The PwC study is no different in that respect.

When asked "Have talent constraints impacted your company’s growth and profitability over the past 12 months in the following ways?" 1,258 CEOs responded with the following:

43% - Our talent-related expenses rose more than expected
31% - We weren’t able to innovate effectively
29% - We were unable to pursue a market opportunity
24% - We cancelled or delayed a key strategic initiative
24% - We couldn’t achieve growth forecasts in overseas markets
24% - We couldn’t achieve growth forecasts in the country where we are based
21% - Our production and/or service delivery quality standards fell

CEOs planned to attack these challenges primarily by three areas...

- We plan to move experienced employees from our home market to newer markets to circumvent skills shortages
- We plan to develop and promote most of our talent from within the company
- We plan to primarily recruit local talent wherever we have market needs

Additionally, not surprisingly, CEOs are looking for better information...this section of the report gives great insight that CEOs are looking for the right information to make informed decisions about their people/talent investments.

"CEOs are seeking a better understanding of the scale and effectiveness of their investments in talent. Productivity and labour costs remain important measurements; these are the tools investors, lenders and businesses use to benchmark progress (or lack of it). They are largely standardised in many industries, and thus easy to implement.

Yet for many CEOs, those tools aren’t enough. They’re very good at telling a CEO how the business is performing today relative to its peers, but not at indicating whether the organisation is investing enough in employees to generate future growth. Such measurements cannot isolate skills gaps, and struggle to identify the pivotal jobs that drive exponential value; they do not measure employee engagement or team performance, both of which are so critical for investments to foster innovation to bear fruit. These measurements are much harder to make, which is one reason why they’ve been neglected and why today, so many CEOs are frustrated with the issue of talent."

As my last post discussed...the people and talent challenges that many organizations face are very similar. That point continues to be driven home in CEO studies like this one from PwC. Year in and year out we see the same CEO perspectives...

If we were doing our jobs...would we continue to see these challenges over and over? Is the world we are in going to always be like this where our profession makes little progress in solving the problems that our leadership continues to see?

I recently had a discussion with HR professionals in an organization and the discussion turned towards business strategy. One person shared they didn't know or understand the business strategy in their let me be frank...if you don't understand your business strategy and how strategic people and talent capabilities support its shouldn't be surprised to find the same things coming up over and over again...


J. Keith Dunbar is a Global Talent Management Leader...Creator of Talent, Leadership Capability, and Culture Change...He can be found connecting and sharing knowledge on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Twitter: JKeithDunbar
LinkedIn: J. Keith Dunbar
Google+: J. Keith Dunbar
Blog: DNA of Human Capital

The opinions or views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent the views of the SAIC.

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